Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 347

The government of Denmark has contributed $347,500 to the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has given a grant of =FA700,000 for UN and NGO refugee assistance programmes for refugees in Iran. The funds are earmarked for UNICEF, UNFPA, International Consortium for Refugees in Iran, Iraqi Refugee Aid Council, and Ockenden International. DFID has also pledged one million pounds to ICRC's emergency appeal for Afghanistan for 1999.

UNICEF Official Due Soon

UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Mr Nigel Fisher, is scheduled to visit Afghanistan (Kabul and Mazar) from 13-17 February.

Based in Kathmandu, Mr Fisher is the most senior UNICEF official to visit Afghanistan since UNICEF's Executive Director's visit in March 1998. He has also been scheduled to meet with the Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad.

Displaced Persons: Kabul

Education and recreational facilities for displaced children in Kabul continue to expand. As reported in Weekly Update 342 (14 December 1999), Save the Children-US, Children in Crisis, CARE and UNICEF have collaborated to improve the situation of these displaced children. About 2,300 displaced children are enrolled in grades 1 to 3, with more still joining. Thirty teachers work with these children in two shifts. Most of the classes take place in the ex-Soviet compound, with four in nearby mosques.

So far, 4,600 notebooks, 30 blackboards, 2,300 small wooden slate boards, 2,300 pencils, 2,300 pencil sharpeners, 2,300 erasers, 2,300 bamboo pens, 2,300 pieces of white chalk, 30 rulers and 30 abacuses have been provided.

302 girls older than grade 3 have been registered and grouped into 36 groups. Of these, five groups do beadwork; seven groups receive training in embroidery and 24 groups in knitting.

On the recreational side, two volleyball fields and two football fields have been established in the compound of the ex-Soviet embassy. Activities are supported by six trainers. T- shirts were provided for children who are members of the football and volleyball teams.

Two new playgrounds now serve over 2,000 children from two to five years of age, of whom about 47 per cent are girls.

Food aid/Food security

Registration of beneficiaries for WFP's emergency food distribution in the Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, and Zabul is continuing. So far, 4,900 beneficiary cards have been distributed, out of which the female team has given 1,200 to widows. Six groups in Kandahar City, four groups in Dand and six in Lashkargah do the registration. WFP also recruited five female registrars in Lashkargah City, who are going to identify 600 widows there.

Registration in Kandahar is expected to be completed by the end of January.


Disease outbreak

An outbreak of an unknown disease has occurred in Darra Souf district of Samangan province. Five villages were initially affected, Darwaz Bala, Darwaz Payan, Qala Nau, Qala Kona and Sheikhabad with a total population of 1,625 persons. These villages reported 50 deaths on 5 January 2000. The local population believes the disease may be measles.

Deaths are increasing. The epidemic has spread to neighbouring villages, but there are no mortality or population figures for the later infected area. The disease has affected people between 1-25 years old. The symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, swelling of the head and face, red spots on the head, neck, and under the skin and high fever for four to six days.

There are no medical facilities or doctors in the area and no treatment has been undertaken. The community and authorities in Darra Souf have requested the UN to arrange an appropriate response.


With UNICEF's assistance, in 53 immunisation centres in 33 districts of western Afghanistan 4,000 children under one year of age received DPT and polio vaccines. This will help them develop immunity against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and poliomyelitis. 2,026 children under one year of age were vaccinated for BCG (tuberculosis). 3,673 women were vaccinated against tetanus.


WHO, UNICEF, SCF (US), and IFRC attended a meeting with the MoPH team on a proposed public health and management course for MoPH staff. WHO strongly requested the involvement of Kabul Medical Faculty in order to involve the University more actively in postgraduate education. The participants agreed that MoPH should conduct the course in close collaboration with the Medical Faculty. WHO agreed to support the course technically and will share the cost.

In the next meeting, the MoPH and Ministry of Higher Education will discuss the draft curriculum and other related issues. The meeting formed a four-member task force consisting of WHO, MoPH, and UNICEF representatives to work on the curriculum.

In Kandahar, WHO conducted two training courses on acute respiratory infections (ARI) in Kandahar. Twenty-six men and twenty women from Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand, and Nimroz provinces attended the courses.

Medical supplies

WHO distributed medical supplies to Herat Regional Hospital to be distributed to all health facilities in Western region.


With assistance from UNICEF, ten dug wells have been made ready for installation of hand pumps in Laman district of Badghis province. These will provide safe drinking water to 2,500 people. Twenty sanitary latrines have also been constructed for families of Laman District. Hygiene education by the RRD's social mobilisers continues in this district.


Three professors from the Swedish University of Karlstad have visited Peshawar for a week, training Afghan school consultants in teaching methodology. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan employs the fifty-six school consultants, out of whom seven are female. They work inside Afghanistan, teaching and supervising the 5,800 teachers at 580 Swedish Committee supported schools with 170,000 students.

The school consultants attended a two week long seminar in Hayatabad as a part of a two-year course for improving teaching techniques. Eight seminars and workshops, with distance-courses in between, are planned. The course deals with theories of child development, learning processes, and different teaching models. Next fall, it will end with a review of the Swedish Committee Teacher Training Programme. The course is planned and managed by the Educational Technical Support Unit at the SCA Main Office in Peshawar.

Community Fora

In southern Afghanistan, one more Community Forum for Women was established in district 1 of Kandahar City, and two Women's Community Fora were established in Farah City.

UNICEF and WHO contributed medicine and medical equipment to the health clinics of Community Fora in districts 3 and 4 of Kandahar, while the Community Forum district 5 obtained permission for establishing a health clinic in the forum.

There are six boys' primary schools with 750 students and two girls' primary schools with 80 students in the Community Fora in various districts of Kandahar City. CDAP has contributed textbooks and school supplies to these schools.


Guardians, an implementing partner with CDAP, has released its 1999 Statistical Report. The Guardians Institute of Orthopaedics in Kandahar is the sole provider of orthopaedic and physiotherapy services to the disabled in southern region. During 1999, Guardians has offered consultations to over 6,600 patients. The major causes for patient visits were trauma, spinal injury, and polio.

Guardians also provides training in physiotherapy to male and female staff of other agencies.


FAO Livestock

In southern Afghanistan, a cattle feed specialist carried out urea-straw treatment demonstrations for 75 farmers in various villages of Dand, Daman and Arghandab PEACE Initiative districts of Kandahar province. Fodder crop staff provided 1,025 kilos of urea for improved winter fodder crop experimental plots in four PEACE Initiative districts of Kandahar region.

A training course for 54 veterinarians on animal health and production improvement was completed in Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar and Khost regions.

In eastern Afghanistan, five village women recruited and newly trained in vaccination techniques in Surkhrud district worked in poultry vaccination.

Routine animal health and production activities are going on smoothly in 255 districts inside Afghanistan.

FAO Crops

During the last week, FAO Crops monitored nucleus nurseries in Herat Province.

During the years of conflict, many Afghan farmers fled their lands, abandoning their orchards, which were often either destroyed or looted. Consequently, much important genetic material may have been lost forever.

As part of an effort to preserve what remains of Afghanistan's genetic heritage, each region of the country is being surveyed for fruit germplasm, which is collected and conserved in nucleus fruit tree nurseries, six of which have been established.

In addition to conserving Afghanistan's genetic resources, the centres are used to propagate plant supplies for private nurseries and as training centres.

More than 120 varieties of pome and stone fruits and 14 varieties of grapes have been conserved through this programme. Further financial support is now being sought.


Voluntary Return

From 17-21 January 2000, 48 families (297 individuals) returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan. In addition, 3,422 individuals spontaneously returned from Iran at the border at Islam Qala.

Forcible Return

During the week, 536 Afghans (seven families with thirty-three members and 503 singles without their families) have been deported from Iran through Islam Qala border crossing point. Out of these deportees, 100 individuals had no documents at all.

Reintegration Assistance

In Herat province, three shelter projects for 394 families have been completed during the last week.

4,144 concrete beams for shelter projects have been safely transported to project sites in Kandahar, Helmand, and Zabul for distribution to beneficiaries.

Nine tube wells implemented by DACAAR under a sub-agreement with UNHCR have been handed over to the community in Maiwand district of Kandahar. 178 families who had recently returned from Pakistan will benefit from this completed project.

Office of the UN Coordinator for Afghanistan,
Islamabad, Pakistan


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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